Some defense: Whitman recalls voting in the 1980s

After publicly apologizing for what she called her "atrocious" voting record, GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is now going on the offensive, saying she recalls voting "on numerous occasions" in the past.

"While my voting record is nothing to be proud of, I have voted on numerous occasions, especially when I lived in San Francisco during the 1980s," she said in an e-mail to supporters.

In a letter to The Sacramento Bee on Monday that was also distributed broadly to the media and talk radio hosts, Whitman communications director Tucker Bounds said: "Meg clearly remembers voting on multiple occasions, including the 1984 and 1988 presidential elections."

Whitman has been under fire since The Sacramento Bee reported last month that she regularly skipped elections in California and several other states where she lived and worked.

The story reported that Whitman said she was registered as a Republican before coming to California, but declined to say where the public record might be found. The first registration record The Bee found was in 2002.

While Whitman did not initially challenge The Bee's findings, this week's letter reflects a change in tactics. Previously, the campaign had declined to offer information to The Bee and other reporters researching her voting and registration record.

Now aides are engaging in a full-throttle effort to deal with negative reaction to her voting habits. They are talking to elections officials throughout the country to compile their own account of Whitman's record, and working to bring the names of other high-profile politicians U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi into the debate.

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